InterVarsity’s New Partnership With the Church

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has initiated a new partnership with churches, which promises to become vast in both size and depth, and a major component of that is its recently launched "Church Partnership Website".

Since the launch of the Church Relations department in July 2004, InterVarsity has held several forums where pastors and InterVarsity staff share ideas on how to develop greater cooperation between the campus ministry and churches.

Usherwood said the response from churches was tremendous. There has already been one forum in Los Angeles. On April 4-6th, another will take place in New York City, on 7-8th, Houston, and on the 9th, he will travel to Dallas at the invitation of churches. Still more are planned for Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Lexington.

InterVarsity, one of the nation's largest campus ministries with over 33,000 students represented on 564 campuses this school term, has teamed up with counterparts, such as Navigators, CCC, and FCA. However, InterVarsity has recognized the need to partner with "God's primary way of advancing His Kingdom" -- the Church, says InterVarsity Church Relations Director Ridley Usherwood.

According to the news release, the relationship between InterVarsity and local churches are already quite interlinked.

"InterVarsity’s missionaries to the college campus, like all missionaries, rely on a base of support that starts at their home church. In addition, our campus staff encourages students to be active in their churches. Our research shows almost two thirds of InterVarsity students do continue to be regularly involved in local churches."

The goal is to take the existing relationship between churches and InterVarsity and deepen it, so that churches could access IV's particular resources, which would be helpful for ministering to the youth, and InterVarsity could have more opportunities for graduates to serve God.

"[We wish] to see the training as a lifelong commitment that eventually will end up in serving the Church of Jesus Christ," said Usherwood.

The new Church Partnership website offers a package of resources, better enabling InterVarsity to share their expertise developed over 60 years of working with college-age men and women, with churches.

InterVarsity hopes to eventually provide "transitional resources" to churches to help high school students leaving the home to "survive in college and keep their faith," said Usherwood.

In addition, InterVarsity would like to share their seminar, "Emerging Cultures Curriculum" with churches in order to help youth pastors understand the today's culture in hopes of reaching the youth.

“We’re asking churches, ‘How can we serve you better?’ because we’re in this thing together,” says Usherwood. “We also want to say ‘Thank you’ to all of our church partners.”